- Men from Hong Kong were not the only employees targeted by the company.
A finance executive was tricked into paying £20 million to fraudsters through a deepfake video call using AI copies of his colleagues, including his UK-based boss.
Employees in Hong Kong first received an email that appeared to be from the UK's chief financial officer (CFO) and were initially suspicious.
However, he lost the money sought – a total of £20.3m in 15 transactions from five bank accounts – after a video call with a deepfake of the CFO and other colleagues, whose likenesses were recreated using AI technology. I was convinced to send the money.
The Telegraph reported that the man contacted the company's headquarters to confirm the transaction and only realized he had been scammed.
He was not the only employee targeted by the company's scammers, but police have not released his name.
This is the first time that AI has been used to trick multiple people into making calls, and Hong Kong police said they were publicizing the incident to warn others.
This comes in the wake of a worrying rise in cases of deepfake scams around the world, where fraudsters mimic a person's voice.
All a scammer needs for this is just a few seconds of video footage.
Until now, one-on-one calls were known because it was easier to impersonate just one person rather than multiple people, as was the case in Hong Kong.
Back in 2019, an employee of a British energy company paid a fraudster £200,000 by impersonating his boss.
Recently, deepfake videos of celebrities like Rishi Sunak have been circulating on social media, and just last month, an explicit fake photo of Taylor Swift was uploaded to X/Twitter.
These were quickly removed, and the AI tools believed to have been used to generate the images were later modified by Microsoft.
The singer's likeness has previously been used to create deepfakes. In January, scammers circulated her ad promoting a non-existent giveaway of Swift and Le Creuset cookware.
The ad featured a synthesized version of Swift's voice and spliced together footage of her and a Le Creuset Dutch oven saying, “Hey, everyone, this is Taylor Swift.” Due to a packaging error, we are unable to sell 3,000 Le Creuset cookware sets, so we are giving them away for free to our loyal fans. ”
According to the New York Times, customers who click on the ad are then directed to a website that mimics popular home goods platforms like Food Network.
Sweepstakes participants will be asked to pay a “small shipping fee of $9.96” to receive the free cookware. After making the payment, consumers were charged a monthly fee and did not receive the cooking set.
Le Creuset said it was not working with Ms. Swift, 34, on consumer giveaways and urged shoppers to sign up for official social media accounts before clicking on ads.
The ad had around 2,300 views before it was removed. A spokesperson for Meta, the platform's parent company, confirmed to NBC News that the company had removed the ads.